Sunday, July 10, 2011

Monday, July 10, 1933

Daddy gave me a quarter to put in my bell bank for my school books. I went swimming. Called Kate.

Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966)

Born in Piqua, Kansas, into a vaudeville family, Keaton spent his childhood on the road with
his family. Legend has it that he earned the nickname Buster after he fell down a flight of steps at a
theater, and a magician on the bill, Harry Houdini, said to the elder Keaton, "What a buster your
kid took!" Keaton's career took off when he met Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle (see June 29 entry), who
invited him to play a small role in The Butcher Boy. The two went on to star in a string of comedies.
It was at this point that Keaton developed the deadpan expression that earned him yet another
nickname, "The Great Stone Face." He also began wearing his trademark porkpie hat, many of which
he made himself by cutting down a Stetson and stiffening the brim with concentrated sugar water.

While professionally successful, Keaton had a fairly miserable personal life. He was married three
times, had two sons that he didn't really get to know until they were older, and was an alcoholic. His
third wife helped him stop drinking and salvage his career. He went on to star in any number of movies
and television shows and worked until right before he died of lung cancer. Keaton has two stars on
the Hollywood Walk of Fame: 6619 Hollywood Boulevard (for motion pictures); and 6321 Hollywood
Boulevard (for television).

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